MLB Player Prop Bets & Picks: 2 Strikeout Totals, Including Alek Manoah & Jake Odorizzi (Friday, July 9)
Jason Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Jake Odorizzi.
With a full slate of baseball games, there are many props to choose from on Friday’s Major League Baseball card.
Unfortunately, the betting markets are more efficiently setting strikeout prop totals. Despite this, there are two strikeout props that I like — an over and an under.
For this article, I will be evaluating my favorite MLB player props based on what my model likes and what the Action Labs Player Prop tool likes. The Action Labs Player Prop tool grades each bet on a scale from 1-10, with 10 being the best possible grade. I will be adding my own personal grades as well.
Below, I have laid out two prop-bets that I am playing, the case for each bet and the best books to find odds on those player props.
2021 MLB Pitcher Prop Record: 62-50, +3.18 Units, +2.8% ROI
MLB Player Props & Picks
Alek Manoah (TOR) — 6.5 Strikeouts (+100 / -127)
|Blue Jays at Rays||Rays -132|
|Time||7:10 p.m. ET|
One of the most pleasant surprises for the Toronto Blue Jays’ rotation this season has been rookie Alek Manoah.
Manoah is a former first-round draft pick, and heading into this season, his only experience in professional baseball came from 17 innings in Single-A. In seven starts this season, Manoah has a 2-0 record with a 2.70 ERA, and a 4.05 xFIP.
While Manoah has posted solid numbers this season, based on his youth, he’s still vulnerable, particularly against an opposing Rays lineup that averages 4.91 runs per game. However, Tampa’s lineup is the most strikeout-prone in MLB.
The question for Friday night’s game is whether or not Manoah can pitch well enough for the Blue Jays to leave him in the game.
One of Manoah’s strengths is his high strikeout rate. Manoah is averaging 10.55 strikeouts per nine innings. However, one of his weaknesses is his lack of usage, as he’s averaging less than 5.1 innings per start.
In a typical Manoah start, he pitches for 5.1 innings and racks up 6.15 strikeouts.
The median MLB team strike out 8.8 times per game, and the opposing Rays average 10.16 strikeouts per game. With Tampa being 15.5% more strikeout-prone than the typical MLB lineup, Manoah should have 7.07 strikeouts in Friday night’s game.
However, Manoah has had seven or more strikeouts in only two of his seven starts this season. Despite his talent as a pitcher and Tampa’s lineup, he should go under his strikeout total on Friday.
Pick: Alek Manoah Under 6.5 Strikeouts (-127 | Play to -145)
- Action Labs Score: 5
- Kevin Davis Score: 6
Jake Odorizzi (HOU) 5.5 Strikeouts (+100 / -127)
|Yankees at Astros||Astros (-143)|
|Time||8:10 p.m. ET|
Since joining the Astros’ rotation this season, veteran starting pitcher Jake Odorizzi has been quietly decent.
Odorizzi boasts a 3-3 record with a 3.70 ERA and a 4.13 xFIP. Additionally, he’s averaging a decent 8.72 strikeouts per nine innings.
However, over the last two seasons, Odorizzi’s usage has gone down. When pitchers throw for fewer innings, they typically record fewer strikeouts. The question for Odorizzi on Friday night against the Yankees is whether or not he can pitch more innings than usual to go over his strikeout total.
One of Odorizzi’s weaknesses as a pitcher is that he’s averaging fewer than 4.1 innings per start, which is not good enough for a team with a vulnerable bullpen like Houston.
For strikeout props, the most important variable besides strikeout rate is how long a pitcher is expected to pitch. In a typical Odorizzi start this season, he pitches for 4.1 innings and racks up only 4.06 strikeouts
However, the opposing Yankees lineup has not been disciplined at the plate. While the median MLB team averages 8.80 strikeouts per game, the Yankees average 9.1 strikeouts per game — the 10th-worst in the league.
However, even when you adjust Odorizzi’s strikeout total to the Yankees lineup, he should have only 4.2 strikeouts in a typical start against the Bronx Bombers.
At -127, the price on Odorizzi’s under is worth it, and I would bet it up to -160.
Pick: Jake Odorizzi Under 5.5 Strikeouts (-127 | Play to -160)
- Action Labs Score: 6
- Kevin Davis Score: 9
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